Featured News

Honey Haven Farm: A family tradition staple

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

It all began with a pumpkin patch. In 1999 John Boyer and his wife, Deb, opened their farm to the public so visitors could pick pumpkins. Boyer, at the time, was a dairymen, the fourth generation on the farm to milk cows and raise crops in Ashland County. 

It was an economical decision to plant the 8 acres of pumpkins. 

“Milking was on the downhill slide at the time. A neighbor was raising pumpkins and he was making a profit off of them. So I decided to give it a try,” Boyer said. “I had beginner’s luck. Every pumpkin was huge. We picked a truck load in 20 minutes, I took them to Mt. Hope and got $4 a pumpkin. The next night I asked for my family’s help to pick more pumpkins. Then the following night, I asked for more help. Then my sister suggested, what If I just let folks come pick their own pumpkin?… Continue reading

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Higher fertilizer price equals a higher return to soil sampling

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

Fertilizer prices have been on a steady march higher throughout 2021. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service tracks Illinois fertilizer prices which the state FarmDoc group has summarized and published an article with prices through July 2021. When compared to prices from one year ago, anhydrous ammonia was up 53%, DAP was up 83%, and potash was up 71%. The actual cost per ton of anhydrous ammonia is $746, DAP was $717, and potash was $600. Shown here is Figure 2 from that Illinois FarmDoc article, or find the entire article at https://go.osu.edu/fertprices

What is the best investment when fertilizer prices are high, a recent, reliable soil test! So what is a recent reliable soil test? A recent soil test is no more than four years old. A reliable test is where you believe the number for pH, phosphorous, and potassium on the soil test represents that field you farm.… Continue reading

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Epley named associate state 4-H leader

Hannah Epley, an associate professor of Extension education and the interim associate state 4-H leader and Ohio State University Extension specialist for camping and older youth, has been named associate state 4-H leader, effective Sept. 1.

Ohio 4-H, the youth development program of OSU Extension, which is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), annually offers or sponsors 4-H camps to youth in all 88 of Ohio’s counties.

Epley joined CFAES as the 4-H educator in Fairfield County in 2005, becoming the camping and older youth state 4-H specialist in 2014. During her time as a 4-H educator, Epley provided overall leadership for the county 4-H program, which now has more than 1,600 community club 4-H members, 350-plus 4-H campers, and 1,000-plus youth participating in school enrichment programs.

In her role as associate state 4-H leader, Epley will:

  • plan and implement professional development opportunities and trainings, including one-on-one instruction, for more than 150 Extension 4-H professionals in the areas of risk management, problem solving, critical thinking, and positive youth development.
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Developing a winter feeding program

By Steve Boyles, Ohio State University Extension Beef Specialist

Winter feed costs are the largest single expense in most livestock grazing production systems. Extending the grazing to reduce the cost of feeding stored feed will greatly increase profits. Labor can be reduced 25% or more. Rotational grazing takes about three hours per acre per year as opposed to hay production, which takes seven hours per acre per year. The cost for grazing a cow per day is $.25 compared to $1 per day to feed hay to a cow.

The first step is to evaluate the potential, available, existing feed. Crop residue can be an abundant winter feed. Corn stalks can maintain a spring calving cow in good body condition for about 60 days after corn harvest. The feed value will decline quickly after the 60-day period. Cattle will select and eat grain, then husks and leaves, and last cobs and stalks.… Continue reading

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CSA mini-conference

By Eric Richer, OSU Extension Educator

There are many options when it comes to direct marketing farm-raised products. One of those options is using the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model whereby customers buy a weekly ‘subscription’ of fresh produce, meat, eggs, etc. If you have interest in learning more about this model of direct marketing, you may consider attending the virtual mini-conference Thinking Inside the Box: Growing CSA’s Across the Tri-State Region.

The mini-conference will take place on Monday, October 25, 2021 from 8:30 am – 12:00 noon EST on Zoom.  This conference is free but registration is required to receive the conference link (registration: www.go.osu.edu/virtualcsaconference2021). For questions, contact Christie Welch welch.183@osu.edu or Anna Adams adams.2061@osu.edu. The deadline for registration is October 22, 2021.

Breakout room topics will include starting a CSA, scaling up your CSA, implied warranty (legal) information, and choosing an online platform to manage your CSA.… Continue reading

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Clovers CODE: Creating Opportunities Designed for Everyone

By Sally McClaskey, Ohio 4-H Youth Development

What happens when you combine kids, iPads, and 4-H? The result is Clovers CODE, a statewide program from Ohio 4-H that introduces problem-solving, computer literacy and coding through hands-on activities.

Clovers CODE (Creating Opportunities Designed for Everyone), began in Franklin County and since 2019 has grown to include 3,115 4-H youth in 44 counties. As part of its Community Education Initiative, Apple provided the Ohio 4-H Youth Development Program with devices, programmable robots, and professional learning and support.

As part of Clovers CODE, the Warren County Tech Creators began meeting in the spring with a group of middle school age youth. According to 4-H educator Steve Brady, Clovers CODE expanded their initial interest in technology. 

“This was more than just playing a computer game,” Brady said. “By exploring the iPads and using the Everyone Can Code curriculum, they learned how to write code to create an app, program a robot and explore video editing.” … Continue reading

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Delayed wheat planting

By Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

In general, the best time to plant wheat is the 10-day period starting the day after the fly-free safe date. When wheat is planted more than 10-days after the fly-free safe date, there is an increased chance of reduced fall growth and reduced winterhardiness. The effect of planting date on wheat yield is shown in Figure 6-2 of the Ohio Agronomy Guide. A free pdf of the guide is available by clicking here: https://stepupsoy.osu.edu/wheat-production/ohio-agronomy-guide-15th-edition (Download the pdf by clicking on the picture of the guide.) Currently, with funding from Ohio Corn and Wheat, we are re-examining the effect of wheat planting date…so stayed tuned next year for those results. 

When wheat is planted 3 to 4 weeks after the fly-free-safe date, the same yield can be achieved as earlier planted wheat if freezing weather does not occur until late November or early December. However, a higher seeding rate is recommended.… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture extends H2Ohio deadline to plant cover crops

Due to a late harvest and adverse weather conditions, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is extending the 2021 H2Ohio Program deadline for planting overwintering cover crops, including those following small grains, and manure incorporation.

H2Ohio producers enrolled in any of the 24-county area will have until Nov. 1, 2021 to plant their overwintering cover crops and complete all manure incorporation requirements.

ODA recommends to adjust seeding rates to reduce to the risk of planting failure. According to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Appendix A, seeding rates should be increased by 20%.

For manure incorporation, all H2Ohio practices must be met. Additionally, requirements established in the nutrient management standard (NRCS 590) must be followed. Producers are required to reduce application rates of manure to reflect soil moisture conditions, per NRCS 590. Manure application on wet soils increases the potential for runoff.

In the first year of the H2Ohio Program, 1,800 farmers enrolled more than 1 million acres of cropland in the targeted 14 counties: Williams, Fulton, Lucas, Defiance, Henry, Wood, Paulding, Putnam, Hancock, Van Wert, Allen, Hardin, Mercer, and Auglaize.… Continue reading

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Beginning farmers legislation

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

H.B. 95 helps beginning farmers and continues to receive attention. The bill would allow individuals to be certified as beginning farmers and create income tax credits for owners who sell land and agricultural assets to certified beginning farmers and for beginning farmers who attend approved financial management programs. 

The bill passed the House on June 28, 2021 and was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Sept. 8, 2021.… Continue reading

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Understanding gibberella ear mold, minimizing vomitoxin

By Luke Schulte, Beck’s Hybrids

Fall provides the culmination of the growing season and often the reward for our year-long efforts. However, ear molds and poor grain quality dampen our enthusiasm and make for some lingering challenges if not dealt with properly both at harvest and prior to grain storage.

Some common ear molds, such as diplodia, are not known to produce mycotoxins. However, aspergillus, fusarium, and gibberella ear mold often result in the production of harmful mycotoxins. While aspergillus and fusarium are less common, gibberella is all too often present within some fields at harvest. Gibberella ear mold can lead to vomitoxin present in the grain, which can cause health problems in both humans and livestock, particularly swine. 

What causes gibberella ear mold and why does it occur?

Gibberella ear mold is caused by the fungus fusarium graminearum. This fungus is present to some degree in almost all fields but is especially abundant in corn following corn or wheat and fields with a history of gibberella.… Continue reading

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Should I store corn or beans this year with limited bin space?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

With harvest in full swing, many farmers are asking me “which crop should I store if I am limited on space?”

What to store at harvest?

My farm operation has over 100% on-farm storage capacity, and I highly recommend most farmers should as well. Having 100% on-farm storage capacity not only simplifies harvest storage decisions and increases flexibility, but it also allows for more low-risk opportunities to maximize profit potential.

Despite the benefits, many farmers are still resistant to having more storage for a variety of reasons. Those farmers will need to analyze their own basis opportunities, market carry profitability and their operating note interest to determine what is more profitable for them to store at home. Following shows how I like to calculate each one.

Futures values do NOT matter when deciding which crop to store 

This runs contrary to what many farmers think.… Continue reading

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S.B. 52 – Solar and wind facilities update

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

 S.B. 52 passed several months ago and was effective on October 11, 2021. The new law will allow counties to designate “restricted areas” in a county where wind and solar projects may not locate and creates a county referendum process for a public vote on restricted area designation. The law will also require developers to hold a public meeting in the county where a facility is proposed at least 90 days before applying for project approval with the Ohio Power Siting Board. After the meeting, the county commissioner may choose to prohibit or limit the proposed project. Another provision of the new law appoints 2 local officials from the proposed location to serve on the OPSB board that reviews a project. And importantly for landowners, the new law requires a developer to submit a decommissioning plan to OPSB for approval with the application and to post and regularly update a performance bond for the amount of decommissioning costs.  … Continue reading

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Corn harvest on track, soybeans behind

Ohio farmers were able to make some harvest progress last week prior to late week rains which slowed progress, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Temperatures were far above average all week which aided crop dry down and also benefitted hay and pasture regrowth. There were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork.

Despite rains that slowed harvest late in the week, Ohio farmers were able to keep pace with the 5-year average for corn for grain harvest. In spite of the soybean crop being largely ready for harvest, only 33 percent of the crop was out of fields which is behind both last year and the 5-year average. Both corn and soybean harvest progressed largely without trouble. Growers looked forward to the week ahead which seemed to present a more favorable weather window for harvesting. Waits at elevators have not been troublesome thus far though some growers expressed concerns that once harvest began full bore, the larger crop would bring long lines at elevators.… Continue reading

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Neutral corn but bearish soybeans for Oct. 12

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Both corn and soybean yields increased.

After the noon report was released, corn was 6 cents, soybeans down cents, and wheat up 3 cents, Just before the report, grains were all lower, corn  6 cents, soybeans 15 cents, and wheat 4 cents.

The U.S. corn yield today was 176.5 bushels per acre and the U.S. soybean yield was 51.5 bushels per acre. Traders were expecting the corn yield to decline and the soybean yield to increase. The average trade estimate for the U.S. corn yield was 176 bushels while the trade estimate for the U.S. soybean yield was 51.1 bushels. USDA last month had the U.S. corn yield at 176.3 bushels and the US soybean yield was 50.6 bushels.  

Corn production was 15.019 billion bushels, last month, 14.996 billion bushels. U.S. soybean production was 4.448 billion bushels, last month, 4.374 billion bushels.

U.S. corn ending stocks for 2021-2022 were 1.5 billion bushels, last month, 1.408 billion bushels.… Continue reading

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Rain delays and storage space, communication and patience

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Harvest delays caused by rain may seem like an inconvenience to many, however it has been a welcome opportunity for many commercial grain facilities to relieve some storage pressure and ship grain out during what began as a busy and bountiful fall harvest.

The 2021 harvest season began with a wide range of early yield reports. Many areas in Ohio are experiencing above average yields in both soybeans and corn. Large yields can lead to long lines and reduced storage capacity at local cooperatives and commercial grain elevators.

Grain facilities with access to rail are at an advantage over those dependent on trucking out all the grain according to Clark Carroll, General Manager of the Gerald Grain Center. Those facilities with rail access can also have difficulty.

“The challenge the facilities with rail access can face is the availability and timeliness of train schedules,” Carroll said.

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Transitioning to improved soil health

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers in a conventional tilled corn-soybean rotation often ask how they can improve soil health.  It is not easy but also not impossible. Improving soil health starts with evaluating your soil and then fixing those problems.  Fall is an excellent time to evaluate your current soil health and to start making management changes for next year.

First, evaluate your soil structure.  Take a shovel and look for hard pans and soil that does not crumble easily.  Dig down at least 12-15 inches. Often at least 2-3 layers of hard dense soil may be visible.  Between 6-8 inches, the old plow layer is almost always found; either visually, by probing the soil with a steel rod, or by breaking soil apart. Tillage tools often smear wet soil and create these dense soil layers which restrict roots, water movement, gas exchange, and mineral nutrition.

Second, evaluate your drainage, both surface and subsurface. 

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 222 | DC Trip

On this episode of the podcast, Dusty and Kolt are joined by Kameron Rinehart who recently returned from Washington DC. Trip attendees engaged legislators about Ohio agriculture’s priorities in government. Rinehart also gave an update on the Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience. All of that and more, presented by AgriGold!… Continue reading

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Massachusetts takes major step against pork sale restrictions

The Massachusetts House — by an overwhelming margin of 156-1 — voted to delay until Jan. 1, 2023, a provision of the Question 3 initiative that will prohibit the sale of pork that doesn’t meet the state’s production standards, a move championed by National Pork Producers Council, which aggressively has been seeking relief for pork producers and the pork supply chain.

The House also transferred jurisdiction for drafting regulations from the state’s Attorney General to the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture. The measure is expected to easily pass the state Senate next week before heading to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker for signing. Originally set to take effect Jan. 1, 2022, the voter-approved 2016 ballot initiative — similar to California’s Proposition 12 — bans the sale of pork from hogs born to sows housed in pens that don’t comply with Massachusetts’ new standards. It applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether it’s produced there or outside its borders.… Continue reading

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